I do not know who the artist is who drew this cartoon, so I cannot acknowledge them, but it seems to be quite famous and has been doing the rounds for some time now. I added the ego – eco element myself, and ego is something I would really like to explore as we move from a hierarchical society to a networked, co-creative society.
You may have seen the image above. It comes from Paul Baran who in 1964 was concerned about the ability of a communications network to survive a nuclear strike. The concept is that in a centralised network, there is a single point of failure which makes it vulnerable to attack. Not so in a distributed network, allowing communication to move freely despite some points failing.
You may also have seen the above image on your social networks or certain presentations. Again, I love the image but I do not know who the original artist was. There is just one thing about this image though, and that is that it is somewhat polar, in that there are two points, one or the other. You are either ego-centric or eco-centric.
As we move into our networked age, we hear a lot about co-creation, the collaborative economy, the networked economy, conscious innovation and conscious capitalism. This is amazing and I know of quite a few people who are dedicating their lives to help us make the transition to this new reality. These people are amazing and I love them.
Yes, there is a BUT.
It’s not that simple.
It’s not a decision you make and then you are there.
Just using words like ‘co-creation’ and ‘network’ and ‘collaborative’ are not enough. The reason is EGO and it is EGO which results in counterfeit KNOTWORKS instead of authentic NETWORKS.
Let me explain.
When we contemplate fractals, we are taken out of the normal Euclidean mechanistic three-dimensional reality, and our consciousness is guided towards a more expansive movement of thinking. Take a look at the fractal above, and see if you can ‘move’ through it. See if you can find journeys within it.
In a previous article I talked about learning journeys and the expansion of consciousness. I attempted to model this journey using the fractal above.
The move from EGO to ECO is not so simple. We have to lose a huge number of preconceptions about reality. We have to lose the thing that is often most precious to us, and this is something many of us are not aware is operating within us. This thing is our EGO.
It is our EGO that sees the world as separate to us. This means that other people are separate from us, and when they are separate, this can often lead to feelings of fear. The fear comes when we are not confident about ourselves, and we fear of others having what we do not have, because they are superior in some way. EGO is fuelled by our insecurities, and when we act from a position of EGO, sometimes all we know how to do is to attack others, bring them down, destroy their reputations and show how we are better.
But this is the rabbit with the big showy green carrot tops but very little the ground.
Why does the image speak of humility? (The quote comes from our book Holonomics). When we are humble, we have an ability to see. Literally, we see more. We see the patterns, the causes, the motivations and ego which drives a person’s behaviour, sometimes patterns which they themselves cannot see, or are not aware of.
When all our actions and desires come from an ecological consciousness, we act from a place which has the desire to benefit the whole. A whole group, a whole team, a whole family, a whole organisation, a whole tribe, a whole society, a whole planet.
Solutions to our complex problems we face today are so wicked, we do need co-creation. We need dialogue, we need networks, we need everyone contributing their very best to the whole. We need to be innovative, but the problems come when all our efforts seem in vain, our ideas are rejected and our grand visions come to nothing. Why? Maybe it because what we thought was a network is in fact a KNOTWORK.
How does this play out? With apologies to Damien Newman who created the squiggle of the design process, instead of design and innovation projects wonderfully and magically happening like this:
What we end up with is something like this:
Knotworkers are those people who disrupt our disruption. We have to be careful with knotworkers, and ensure that we can detect then and know when their actions are likely to be destructive rather than disruptive.
We have to be care with those Knotworkers who talk the talk but in fact whose actions and motivations come from hierarchical thinking, from hoarding treasure, from a desire to hold on to power, who plagiarise and steal other’s work, never acknowledging their sources, and who are threatened by others. The role of the leader in the new collaborative economy is one of nurturing people on the journey from EGO to ECO. It will not be easy, but this is a journey all leaders will have to embark upon.
It is so fascinating to see Knotworkers who are on the spiritual path, on their journeys, but who have not yet broken out of Ego. These people can be frustrating in the extreme, as they know not what they do, and a great lesson I learned was to value the word DISCERNMENT rather than JUDGEMENT. When we are able to discern, we are able to see the harm that people do to others, and the harm they do to themselves, the missed opportunities they lost due to seeing others as a threat rather than a co-creator, and this is important as those who act from ECO can be vulnerable.
How many of us have believed in other people, shared our knowledge, only to have it stolen from us rather than being offered opportunities to collaborate and co-create? We have to watch out for this, and this is a part of reality, but that’s fine as everyone is on their path, every one of us is on a journey, and who is to say that this person is here and this person is there. Discernment not judgement will see us right.
There is a solution for authentic networkers and that is to do all you can to find people of the same vibration, people without ego, acting from an ecological consciousness who can see who you really are. You are special, you are needed, you are so important at this moment in which we find ourselves. Just watch out for Knotworks. No need to be hassled. It is absolutely unbelievable when we find ourselves with others who are authentic. We can have conversations which are life changing. This is something I feel I will be writing about very soon.
But in the meantime we just need to listen to Yoda. Ultimately, it’s not about other people. It’s about us. We just need to be mindful of our thoughts. That is all.